In the following situations an exception with respect to the flag requirement may be applicable (1):
- if, prior to operating the new vessel, the percentage of the qualifying vessels with an EU/EEA flag has not been reduced in relation to January 17th 2004 (reference date). This calculation will be based on the net tonnage, to be judged in relation to the entirety of the shipping company’s fleet that qualifies for the tonnage tax. For shipping companies that have applied for the tonnage-tax scheme after January 17th 2004, the fleet at the year-end of the first year for which the company qualified for the tonnage tax scheme, will serve as the reference date;
- if, prior to operating the new vessel, the net tonnage of qualifying vessels with an EU/EEA flag already operated by the shipping company, amounts to at least 60% of the proportion of the shipping enterprise’s total qualifying owned or bareboat fleet;
- if in the calender year a vessel is being first used by the taxpayer, the three-year average percentage of all qualifying EU/EEA vessels of the total qualifying Dutch fleet in the relevant fiscal year has not decreased in comparison to the preceding three-year average.
Towing and dredging activities do not qualify for the exceptions to the flag requirements.
(1) Please note that, due to the recent decision of the European Commission SA 51263 (2019/N), the Dutch tax law has to be amended as per 1 January 2020 This implies that for taxpayers that would like to use a exception with respect to the flag requirements, at least one EU/EEA flagged vessel in their fleet is required.